What's Going On Here?
Technology has been developed to produce carbon-free energy from the sun, powerful enough to rival fossil fuels. This is the first time renewable energy has been able to be used for powering heavy industries, such as the manufacturing of concrete, steel and petrochemicals.
What Does This Mean?
The technology is called ‘concentrated solar power’. It works by using A LOT of mirrors angled to reflect the sun's energy on to one target spot like a gas pipe and therefore heating it up.
“It’s a little bit like an enormous magnifying glass” Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen.
Some power plants have been using this method for a while now but they haven’t been able to produce high enough temperatures to present a potential alternative to fossil fuels used in heavy industrial processes, aviation and transport.
The secret to Heliogen’s breakthrough is the use of high resolution cameras that look at the field of mirrors in real-time and control their angles to make sure they are angled with high precision. It’s this that has enabled temperatures of over 1,000 degrees celcius to be reached, finally making solar power a worthy opponent to fossil fuels.